The great 35mm vs APS controversy
This used to be one of the traditional holy wars in photography, even though currently it seems a bit more quiet.
The question is "Should I get a new, madly cool APS camera, or should I stay with 35mm (aka 135) ?".
It is instructive to do a side by side comparison of the two formats, and to consider as well aspects that are not comparable.
Well, 35mm (supposing a 24x36 negative) gives you 864 square millimeters of image area, while APS at best is 513.4. At best means, when using the HDTV
image ratio; the other image formats are produced by crop
ping the negative, so they are even smaller.
Less film means less resolution, and more grain as soon as you enlarge. People have different tolerances to grain, but I can tell you that if you want prints any bigger than 8"x10", APS will make you suffer.
Mind you, not that 35mm is really big
. If you want a lot of film, you should consider 120
APS does have one major film handling advantage: you can (on some cameras) change film mid-roll. That's to say, the camera rewinds the film into the cassette and allows you to eject it. When you reload the cassette in the camera, it reads the magnetic codes embedded in the film backing and advances the roll up to the point where you had arrived.
This is very cool, but it would be very useful if you had a wider variety of film types in APS: like slide, color, black and white, very different sensitivities.
But, due to the market positioning of APS, they just don't make that many types of APS films: it is almost all boring color negatives, the bread-and-butter of every commercial processor.
Image taking automation
This is more or less the same. Both camera types can be very stupid point-and-shoot, or very sophisticated things (like Nikon's cameras in both formats).
The critical point here is film availability. 35mm wins hands down. And if you like slides, you can stop reading right now, because APS slides are a kind of UL.
The other point is that there are not many APS photographic systems (actually I am only aware of the Nikon Pronea, an interesting machine). That is not a concern to the casual shooter, but if you are serious about your photography, you want to buy into a flexible system that will accomodate your future photographic needs.
APS comes in nice little sealed cartridges, with index print
s. 35mm comes in floppy delicate strips of film that seem to attract dust and fingerprints.
You can never really see
an APS negative, but this is not something that many people want to do. Black and white photographers are among the ones that need
to see the negative.
In a nutshell
If you are positive that the phrase "weekend shooter" describes you well, get into APS
. If you have higher objectives, or you want to learn about photography, then you need 35mm
or bigger film format
focuses on an interesting point. I suspect that the "easy loading" would have been a stronger argument years ago. Currently, 35mm P&S
have very automated loading.